|Location:||Chancery Lane, city of London. Chancery Lane Underground Station.|
All year Mon-Fri 9-17:30, Sat 9-13.
free, at least if you do not buy.
|Classification:||Underground City Vault|
|Address:||The London Silver Vaults, 53-64 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1QS, Tel: 44-20-7242-3844.|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1876||Chancery Lane Safe Deposit Company opened.|
|1953||London Silver Vaults formed in the present shape.|
The London Silver Vaults are located between High Holborn and Fleet Street near the London Law Courts. It is a unique labyrinth of shops called vaults, several floors underground. But this is not an underground shopping arcade, although you might use it as such. The place started in 1885 as Chancery Lane Safe Deposit Company, one of the first companies in England offering safety deposit boxes to the public. The vaults had 1.2m thick steel-lined walls, and were never burglarized. Even a direct hit of the building above by a bomb during World War II did not cause any damage in the vaults.
The vaults were originally rented by wealthy people to store their valuables. People going on a travel or forces posted to the colonies could store their valuables before they left. Some families had their own family-vault. And the content of some vaults shows the typical british eccentricity. One was used to store a farthing (a quarter penny coin) which cost more than GBP 100 over the years. Probably this was the first coin earned by Dagobert Duck, or Dagobert Duck and other famous stereotypes were designed after stories which really happened here. Just think about the vault of Harry Potter, where his parents stored their valuables.
Today the place is called London Silver Vaults, a result of the fact that most of the valuables stored here were made of silver. And soon dealers of antique silver and jewellery shops in nearby Hatton Garden started to store their stock in the vaults each night. But finally in 1953 they realised they could operate from shops below ground just as easily. And so the place became a high security underground silver shopping mall.
The shops at the London Silver Vaults offer valuable goods, antiques, silver, gold, jewelry, and watches. There is not a single shop which is not at least 50 years owned by the same family. Obviously this is a very traditional spot, even for British means. It is also said to be the largest single collection of silver for sale in the world. And the existence of so many shops offering similar good results in a highly competitive environment, which is regarded to be the reason why prices are lower than in most other locations in the UK.
|London Silver Vaults Gallery|